1. As a general question, evaluate your recruiting class. Is it more or less what you expected, were you pleasantly surprised or horribly, horribly disappointed? Were your team's needs adequately addressed or will you be starting a two star running back at center next year?
Purdue's recruiting is what it is...the last few year's Coach Tiller has been compelled to recruit character guys since he got burnt so bad a few years back. The problem is, many of Purdue's recruits are also being recruited by Wyoming, Stephen F. Austin, Temple or no other school. You should win those battles, and Purdue has done so! All that said, this class, despite the late defection fills some needs that Purdue desperately had...Particularly interior linemen, both offensive and defensive. Unlike UM or tOSU's recruits, they're a year from seeing the field in most cases, but that's better than converting a highschool fullback who walked on to a DT (which Purdue has been known to do). I'm not enamored by ratings, but I am by which team offers, Purdue did get a couple more talented gets than the last two seasons.
2. Who were the big catches in your recruiting class? Name two players matriculating to your school whose existence everyone else in the Big Ten will curse for the next four years.
Ken Plue is a legit, big time, massive Big Ten offensive linemen, right out of the box. He'll make a difference, especially when Hope takes over and Purdue runs the ball a bit more between the tackles.
Ralph Bolden is another guy who is a great talent and will make serious noise. The only problem with Bolden is that he blew his knee out to end his high school career. It's probably that same knee that kept guys like Rodriguez, Richt and the like from putting a full-court press on the young man a few weeks ago. I hope for his knee's sake that he redshirts in '08. After that, I see him being like Kory Sheets without all of the jumping before contact or the fumbles every 20 carries or so.
That said, most Purdue players that are great while at Purdue weren't highly recruited...Guys like Craig Terrill (2-star), Taylor Stubblefield & John Standeford (3/2-star), Nick Hardwick (walk-on) & Matt Light (converted tightend) all developed into great players because they worked their asses off and fit nicely into the system. I'm positive there are 3 or four guys in this class who fit that mold.
3. You can't win them all. Maybe some slick talking carpetbagger schmoozed his way into your living room, sold you a set of ginzu knives made out of tin foil, and walked off with your wife and your star recruit. Perhaps an in-state lock who grew up with [Insert University Here] posters on his wall and your coach's face tattooed on his arm decided to go elsewhere for reasons no one seems to understand? Did your recruiting class lose someone big on signing day, who was it, and was your school able to yoink someone else to cover his loss?
I'm pretty sure Purdue needed that one guy who lied about his commitment just to defect to UM with a bunch of his highschool teammates...I'm pretty sure that while UM will redshirt the fine young man, Purdue would have had him on the field next year, in some capacity. Further, they would have liked to fill the spot at the last minute with someone else...turns out they couldn't because that rock-solid verbal disintegrated literally after the 11th hour. I've said it before, I wish that guy nothing but obscurity in Ann Arbor.
I don't have the problem with Rodriguez that some, including Tiller do...mainly because I liked him so much at WVU. If he does it next year, I'll start thinking otherwise and might even look at RR as a slimy two-faced guy in the realm of Petrino, Tressel, Neuheisel and other true snake oil salesmen that throw caution, ethics and rules to the wind during the recruiting season (and after). But, I'm not there yet, with Rodriguez...I am still pretty pissed at that kid, his HS coach and his parents. The whole thing stinks.
4. There's been a spirited debate about this whole "Coaches' Code" among the members of the Big Ten coaching fraternity. Do you believe this exists or is it a line being floated by the guys who couldn't keep their recruiting classes together? Bonus points for declaring your coach a poacher or a poachee in creative fashion!
First off, I do think there's a "code"...But I don't really care if there is or not. Recruiting is like politics, it's a dirty business about which I really don't want to know all of the ins and outs. What I really want to hear is that my alma mater doesn't lie or cheat intentionally to get players to sign and isn't embarrassing the school with its recruiting practices.
Talented high school guys much of the time become talented college players, but timing of their signing at a school has a lot to do with their level of success. For people to kiss the ass of an 18 or 17 year old like many in the media are doing to Pryor is absurd. There's a reason so many of these blue chippers are malcontents that have to be babysat once they're on campus- because many of them truly believe that they're more important than Joe Student walking around campus. Hell, I would too if I had been told I was great at whatever since I was 10. At the end of the day, you want the scholarship to make economic sense- does this kid represent the school well and help spread its name positively? Whether he's a great ambassador, good student or a stone-cold killer on the field of play, you want to see a return on the investment.
To me guys like Jake Standeford are as important to a team as Dorien Bryant...if not more important. It's truly great when you hear of a kid of high character and solid academics that can also play the game...You know, like James Hardy or Selwyn Lymon. Good dudes.
5. Finally, who's the slickest, smoovest, most Billy Dee Williamsesque recruiter in the Big Ten? Who's the worst, most incompetent, "trip over the flat tire on his Yugo" recruiter in the Big Ten?
Wouldn't Ron Zook have to be the slickest recruiter in the Big Ten? Illinois has the worst stadium in the league (yes, it's worse than Ryan Field)...and the campus smells of horse manure...but he's still kicking serious ass on the recruiting trail. Maybe it's the fine young ladies in Champaign, the nightlife or perhaps the Zooker keeps his pockets lined with crisp Benjamins for every good little recruit...regardless, it seems like an extremely difficult task to get players to come and play for Chief Illiniwek (please note, my mention of the Chief is not intended as slander to Native Americans...and I will not show any image of the chief as it is demeaning unless the circumstance are correct...i.e. you're a cash cow for the NCAA).
The worst recruiter would have to be Tiller, I think. I think Lynch will wrestle that honor from him as Tiller rides off into the sunset at the end of the season...But, Tiller has been able to develop talent extremely well. (I know that wasn't the question)